It was already half past ten when we arrived at East Ocean for a late night snack (“snack” since yum-cha’s more of a lunch thing and this wasn’t even close to good dinner timing). The dinner hoards were long gone and the restaurant was empty except for one other table who shared our idea of “a good time for dinner”. The lights had been turned off in part of the place but apparently it’s open till 2am.
When I think yum-cha, I think of trolleys of dim sims in bamboo steamers and little stamp cards which correspond to how many dishes you’ve gorged yourself on. This place no longer does that; their system requires you to fill in a slip of paper with your order and the food is made fresh to your order. Despite food coming straight from the kitchens instead of coming to you after doing laps around the restaurant, I can’t say I don’t miss the novelty of the trolleys. There are definitely places where they still do that though! Because we were there outside of normal yum-cha hours, there was none of the complicated ordering process. We just ordered straight from the menu (of course not the entire selection of yum cha stuff was available so late).
Shu mais, or pork dumplings with crab roe, are a must-have at yum-cha, you see some on practically every table, they’re that good. I can’t say these are the best I’ve ever had, but they’re tender and juicy.
Prawn and vegetable dumplings
Another yum cha staple, these skin on these dumplings are so thin that it’s almost not there.
BBQ pork buns
A personal favourite. I love the slight sweetness of the bun. They smelt so good. Of course, you can also get these frozen from some supermarkets.
The meat could have been a little more tender but overall quite tasty.
I’ll admit I didn’t actually have any of this because I’m one of those people who just never particularly developed a liking for them. On the other hand, I know many people do like them and these ones looked rather excellent.
Food: 7.5 (although I think this place’s yum-cha is somewhat mediocre it is actually quite good for dinner, it’s considered to serve top-notch traditional Chinese cuisine)
East Ocean Restaurant
421-429 Sussex St,
Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9212 4198